Literature and Law
Edited by Michael J. Meyer
In recent years, there has been a continuing and persistent world-wide interest in the interaction between the two disciplines of law and literature. Although there have been many collections of primary texts that combined these two areas, this volume presents literary analyses and criticism in an attempt to assess the varied relationships between law and justice, between lawyers and clients, and between readers’ perceptions and authors’ intent, hopefully suggesting why they have continually been yoked together. One similarity between the two is that lawyers, like writers, must catch their audience’s attention by novelty of scene, distinctiveness of voice, and ingenuity of design. Furthermore, legal advocates must recreate a concrete sense of reality, developing vivid and valid pictures of a specific time and place. In short, both lawyers and writers attempt to provide a basis for juries / readers to judge defendants / characters by their motivations and their actions and to decide whether a favorable ruling / assessment is justified. Collectively, the essays in this book are designed to deal with themes of guilt and innocence, right and wrong, morality and legality. The essays also suggest that the world as it is delineated by lawyers is indeed a text that like its literary counterparts sometimes blurs the distinction between fact and fiction as it attempts to define “truth” and to establish criteria for “impartial” justice. By exploring interdisciplinary contexts, readers will surely be made more aware, more sensitive to the roles that stories play in the legal profession and to the dilemmas faced by legal systems that often succeed in maintaining the rights and privileges of a dominant societal group at the expense of a less powerful one.